When Michael Garrett upset State Senator Trudy Wade (R-Guilford) in last week’s election, it was by a fairly slim margin – less than a full percentage point, just 763 votes in complete but unofficial results.
Those familiar with Wade’s career were immediately reminded of Wade’s last narrow loss – and wondered how she would respond to this one.
Back in 2004 Wade narrowly lost her seat on the Guilford County Board of Commissioners to Democrat John Parks. The margin: just 242 votes. The seat was the first Wade ever held – one she won after changing her party affiliation to Republican after several failed attempts as a Democrat.
She contested the election, holding onto the seat for another 18 months as she appealed her case all the way to the North Carolina Supreme Court. The court ultimately dismissed Wade’s case, but the extended battle denied Parks a substantial portion of his first term.
Fears of history repeating seemed assuaged last week, when Wade conceded the election in a statement to local TV news station Fox 8:
“It has been an honor to serve the citizens of Guilford County for the last six years. I appreciate the support and votes I received during the campaign. I am proud of the accomplishments that have been made in the North Carolina Legislature over my three terms.
“I look forward to returning to full time work with my four legged friends.”
Garret responded with a statement that thanked Wade for her service:
“I remain humbled and honored that the people of the 27th District have entrusted me with their voice in the state Senate. This was a spirited campaign about important issues facing our families and communities, from investing in our public schools and teachers to making healthcare more accessible and affordable. I am ready to get to work. I want to thank Senator Trudy Wade for her service to Guilford County and the State of North Carolina. Public service is not an easy endeavor and it is not done without sacrifice, and I wish her the best.”
Then, in a statement to a different TV news station, Wade denied she was conceding and called Garrett a liar.
It’s not yet clear whether Wade will accept the final canvassing of the votes or if this loss, like Wade’s last, could be long and hard fought.